Tuesday, January 08, 2008

North Carolina at Clemson

Was this the game that Wayne Ellington went from a talented player with mad skillz into a Rashad McCants-type killah? If yes, mark North Carolina as one of the four Final Four teams. And were the last 2 minutes of regulation and last play of the overtime a microcosm of Clemson's 2006-2007 season or just how the game ebbed and flowed? We blog, you decide!

Clemson looked great for most of the game, they were able to run and gun with the Tar Heels, beat them at their own game at times, and their four bigs put Tyler Hansbro in a straight-jacket and made him look like a frustrated average player. KC Rivers was making shots left and right, and freshman Demontez Stitt looked like a skinny version of Tywon Lawson at times.

Then came the last two minutes of regulation. Clemson starting slipping up, Hansbro woke up a little bit, and the UNC TarHeels got back in the game and tied it. But Clemson could have won - they had two chances to do so in the last play of regulation and they blew it - they blew an almost uncontested layup (perhaps the injury and crumps got James Mays in that play).

But a similar story developed in the overtime. David "Harry" Potter was magic during the OT and gave Clemson a nice boost, but with five seconds left from the win, he went for the heroic steal instead of just staying in front of Wayne Ellington and bothering him. The result? Ellington hit a Rashad McCants like dagger and that made Ole Roy jump up and down in joy before he realized the cameras were on.

UNC needs a better way to deal with their backup point guard. Since I play Coach Blogjerus on the net, I recommend UNC to put Q-Thomas in the game while Tywon Lawson is still there, and let them play together for a couple of minutes. That way Q-Thomas picks up the game vibes without having to be thrown into the fire. Then you take out Tywon Lawson, so Q doesn't get the baptism by fire.

Why have I just said that? Because unlike Star Trek's Q who can just clap his hands and undo things, UNC's Q cannot do that and undo his three back-to-back turnovers that let Clemson back in the game in the first half and gave them a lot confidence.

The good news for UNC was that they were able to get an "onions" win on the road without Bobby Fraser and Alex Stepheson and make a winning play with five seconds left. And Ole Roy put Clemson's sharpshooter in a straight-jacket. Although Marcus Ginyard deserves most of the credit for that.

The good news for Clemson is that they are not as bad as last year's team, and they were just one play away from winning the game, both in regulation and in overtime. What does that mean? Time will tell! We will have to wait and see how they do against other NCAA-bound teams before we make up our mind. But because of their performance, I have voted them in the BlogPoll Top 25 at #24. This is the first time this year I have voted for the Clemson Tigers in the Top 25 :)

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